What’s more annoying than the endless drips in your bathroom faucet? The constant dripping sound is enough to frustrate anyone. On top of the irritating noise, you may feel aggravated by the amount of water wasted. A dripping bathroom faucet will leak unused water daily, which is unpleasant for the environment and your finances.
The first step to fixing a leaky faucet is identifying the root of the problem. It’s best to acknowledge when your bathroom faucet starts dripping and the reasons behind the leakage. There are numerous ways a faucet could leak, but typically it is due to a few common culprits. Fortunately, the fix is often inexpensive and quick. If the leakage persists, it’s always advisable to hire a plumber to look into the problem.
Here are the six possible reasons for a dripping bathroom faucet:
1. Damaged Bathroom Faucet Parts
The cause of a leaky faucet can be damage to the various parts and connectors. Often, the cartridge (a valve that controls water flow into the faucet spout) becomes damaged and causes a leak. If you have a faucet with two handles, one for hot water and the other for cold, then you have a cartridge-style faucet. If your faucet is dripping water, this could be a sign of damage to the cartridge.
Similarly, the pipes beneath the sink may also deteriorate. A plumber can help you check if something has broken or one of the fittings isn’t working. Replacing damaged bathroom faucet parts can sometimes be done by homeowners with expertise. However, it is best to leave the job to a professional. If you install the faucet parts improperly, you may cause additional damage to the plumbing fixtures.
2. Faucet Water Pressure
Another reason your bathroom faucet might leak is due to the water pressure. Do you notice the bathroom faucet dripping at certain times of the day? Or maybe it only occurs when you move the handle in a particular way? In either case, the building’s water pressure could be the root cause.
High water pressure can be tricky, potentially preventing the water from flowing correctly. In severe cases, it may cause backup and water leaks in other places. Leaks caused by high water pressure can eventually lead to pinhole leaks in the piping, which worsens over time. If your bathroom faucet suffers from high water pressure, contact a plumber to assess the situation and discuss solutions.
3. Loose Bathroom Faucet
A faucet consists of many parts that work together to provide water flow. Each time you use the bathroom sink, these components get moved. Likewise, it is common for the pieces to shift a little after installation. After years of use, the faucet parts become worn down and loosen over time. When this happens, the bathroom faucet may start dripping.
To fix this problem, it’s a good idea to tighten the nuts and washers in the leak area. Secure the loose pieces in place again. If the bathroom faucet still drips afterwards, it is likely an old washer, spring, or seal that needs replacing.
4. Faucet O-Ring
The O-ring is a small rubber disc that wraps around a pipe to seal gaps so water can’t escape. Over time, this little piece of rubber will deteriorate physically. The faucet O-ring may no longer perform as it should, resulting in a leak.
In a bathroom faucet system, the O-ring is attached to the stem screw to hold the handles, or the faucet itself, in place. If your leak comes from the base of the tap or one of the handles, the cause might be a worn-out O-ring. You will likely need to replace this component.
5. Faucet Washer
Beneath the stem screw and O-ring, you’ll find the next connection, which is usually a rubber washer. Like an O-ring, these washers wear down or break over time. These washers may also have improper installation, leading to unnecessary dripping. In either case, they will need replacements.
Typically, you’ll locate the leaks at the base of the compression faucet. The solution is that you need to replace the washer or O-ring. It could be a good idea to replace both parts simultaneously, as they typically wear down at similar rates.
6. Faucet Valve Seat
The valve seat is a threaded metal connector, which you will find between the faucet and the spout. Over the years, built-up water sediment corrodes this valve seat and its threading. After a while, it will cause the bathroom faucet to drip.
A corroded valve seat is likely the issue if your leak comes from the spout. Replacing this part can be complex, so it is best to rely on a Whitby plumber for help. Many homeowners avoid this issue altogether by routinely cleaning the faucet valve seat.